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Is Multitasking Really Good For You?

With the fast and frenetic pace of modern life, everyone has to multitask from time to time. But have you ever wondered if all that multitasking just leads to more stress? You’re not alone: For decades, psychologists have warned us that multitasking can take too much of our energy and brain power to justify the perceived convenience.

Of course, not everyone agrees on that point, and many people argue that the key to task juggling lies in how we switch tasks. Because we’re all about maximizing your time here at Merry Maids®, we wanted to explore the concept of multitasking in depth – and determine whether the benefits ever outweigh the downsides.

Why Multitasking Takes a Mental Toll

Although we might not realize it, our attempts to juggle a hundred things at once may actually work against our basic design. The human brain can only ever focus on one thought at a time, which means that “multitasking” is a misnomer. And performing multiple tasks in rapid succession can cause us to lose precious time, according to a 2001 study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology. This is because our brain needs time to adjust for our new goal, and then even more time to pull up all the “rules” for performing a task correctly.

Another study at Stanford University supported this finding, showing that individuals who called themselves “heavy multitaskers” had a harder time sorting through information, due to mental disorganization. In other words, multitasking may feel productive to us, but it tends to make our minds much messier. To make matters worse, the effect is cumulative, and chronic multitaskers eventually lose some of their ability to process information.

Tips for More Effective Task-Switching

With so much evidence stacked against multitasking, the question arises: Can we ever truly juggle multiple jobs at once? The answer is yes – but only if you adjust your strategy and “work smarter rather than harder.” It’s probably not a good idea to try and complete your budget report while having a conversation with your kids, but studies have also shown that doing simple tasks with a low cognitive impact – such as doodling or listening to music – can actually give you a small boost whenever you’re trying to concentrate.

Here are some other ways you can maintain focus while juggling tasks all day:

· Create calendar space for your “thinking time.” Got a major project to finish up? Try time blocking it on your calendar and minimizing distractions until you’re finished.

· Avoid social interruptions. According to the data, interruptions cost U.S. companies more than $650 billion a year. Socializing with coworkers and checking your emails is important, but try to do them when you need a mental break, not intermittently throughout the day.

· Use the power of delegation. When task-switching gets to be too difficult, it can be really helpful to delegate and share your tasks with others. That way, you can focus your energy where it counts.

However you feel about multitasking, one thing is clear: It’s better for your mental health when you can devote all your attention to one important thing at a time. When you schedule home cleaning services with Merry Maids®, you can trust that your to-do list will be crossed off, without having to sacrifice your high standards. Because we deliver the kind of clean you can really feel, you’ll be able to rest easy knowing that the cleaning been handled, masterfully!

Tired of multitasking? Call (888) 490-4227 today for more information about our cleaning services.